The Power of Narrative


The reason that I always doubted Russia-gate is because I read. A lot.

I started out with tons of fiction but then moved to non-fiction, with a heavy emphasis on the history of empires. Oswald Spengler’s, Decline of the West, A Study of History, by Arnold Toynbee, and The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, by Edward Gibbon, were roadmaps to comprehending our modern world, and, more importantly, to understanding the world’s most powerful empire–the American empire.

I also read the elite corporate media like the NY TimesWashington Post and Wall Street Journal, to keep up with the latest propaganda narrative they’ve constructed. I’ve come to realize that the most important function of U.S. corporate media is to fashion narratives that serve the imperial interests of their owners, the ruling class and the national security state that makes up the American empire. Indeed, for all of recorded history, those with wealth and power have been using whatever means to communicate they have at their disposal to control the ways people think and behave, using the power of narrative.

It’s been obvious for well before Donald Trump was gleam in the eye of the corporate media, that the military/industrial/complex (MIC), that maintains the American empire, was eager to pivot from the counterinsurgency heavy war-on-terror to a more traditional great power conflict. After all, you hardly need a 90 million dollar F-35 fighter to battle terrorists holed up in caves but you certainly do for a new cold war against Russia and China. It’s also obvious that the US establishment is desperate to prevent the ongoing global transformation of a world dominated by the United States to a pluralistic one composed of different powers collectively shaping a multipolar world.

Surrounding Russia with NATO, while undermining its economy with neoliberal fifth columnists has been the agenda of US policy makers since the end of the cold war, and these plans went into overdrive when Putin began to resist this assault. His deft maneuvers in response to the Ukrainian coup, and jihadi attack on Syria set off alarm bells across the neocon intellectual spectrum.

Russia-gate was the result. Indeed, even after the Mueller investigation concluded with no evidence of Russian collusion, the corporate media is still attempting to use the Russia hysteria they’ve already manufactured via the collusion narrative to create demand for more escalations against Russia.

This is how fucked-up the corporate media is. They are willing to propagandize the American people into supporting a new cold war that has the potential to turn hot, ending life on earth, all to please their plutocratic owners, their military-industrial complex sponsors, and the intelligence agencies with which they are aligned.

This dynamic was always perfectly clear to me. Again, because I read, a lot. Manufacturing Consent, anyone?

Over the years I’ve cultivated a number of trusted online sources, none so important as the late Robert Parry’s site Consortium NewsFrom Russia-gate’s outset, Consortium News adopted journalistic skepticism, led by founding editor, the late Robert Parry, with Ray McGovern, Daniel Lazare, Patrick Lawrence, Gareth Porter, Joe Lauria & VIPS in debunking all the bull-shit spewed out by the corporate media. 

Then, there’s my other go-to site–Naked Capitalism, maintained by the amazing Yves Smith, and the the superlative Lambert Strether. NC is my daily antidote to the corporate media. The links to other alternative sources are invaluable.

There’s also–Caitlin Johnstone, The Unz Review, Moon of Alabama, The Saker, Strategic Culture, Ian Welsh, Sic Semper Tyrannis, Zero Hedge, The Jacobin, The Baffler–that make up my alternative reading list. This non-corporate media diet helped me to understand that Russia-gate was always a propaganda narrative aimed at the professional class that makes up the modern Democratic Party.

Going further, Russia-gate was not only a conspiracy against Trump, largely in response to his 2016 election campaign commitment to restore diplomatic relations with Russia. Russia-gate also took the form of a witch-hunt directed against the alternative online media, which were depicted as “Russian bots,” or “fake news,” or simply “treasonous.”

For example, while the Washington Post (supported by the deep state) was spreading rumors on Russia’s alleged election meddling, it was also involved in engineering the blacklisting of independent media. In a Post article, reporter Craig Timberg wrote favorably about a website called “PropOrNot,” which had censored several hundred independent online news sources intimating that these websites and social media accounts were part of a Kremlin propaganda network.

In a weird coincidence, all of my online sources were on the black-list. Go figure.

While the Mueller report confirms that the corporate media were spreading propaganda in support of Russia-gate, it’s highly unlikely that they will ever apologize. It’s also unlikely that the censorship against the independent online media will stop. Instead, ahead of the 2020 election, it’s almost certain that the attacks on alternatives to the corporate media will intensify.

After all, the corporate media has a narrative to maintain.

The natives are getting restless.




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